WELCOME TO FIRST GRADE!
It’s been a great start in First Grade! We have had so much fun getting to know each other and learning how to work together as part of one classroom community. We spent the first two weeks of school working on expectations, routines and building our classroom family. Now, we are working towards implementing all of the components of our daily academic schedule. The children have adjusted beautifully and continue to impress me with their kindness and drive to succeed! We are going to have a wonderful school year!
Unit of Study: Personal Identity
Our first integrated unit is called Personal Identity. In this unit, the students will learn all about themselves and their families. So far, we have written our own books about our weekly lives and routines. We've also focused on our daily lives and routines as well. Part of personal identity is what makes you, YOU! We discussed our fingerprints and how no two people have the same one! The students got to stamp their thumbprint and complete a writing activity that included facts about them! We have also learned about the human life-cycle (yet ANOTHER cycle that connects to our big idea PATTERNS AND CYCLES). Currently, we are completing beautiful self-portraits and are beginning to discuss the concept of our family trees!
The first big thing we have been learning in language arts is the structure of the Daily 5.
Daily 5 is a way of setting up our reading block so that each student is actively and independently engaged in meaningful literacy tasks. So far, we have learned 3 of the 5 “centers”.The kids have been building stamina and independence while they Read to Self, Work on Writing, Work on Words and Read to Someone. As we progress throughout the year, we will add Listen to Reading. The students will then rotate through these centers in between mini-lessons and small group instruction.Talk about teaching to the whole child!
In addition to learning this structure, we have also begun learning strategies to help us become better readers. We have a CAFE menu in our classroom, which stands for COMPREHENSION, ACCURACY, FLUENCY and EXPANDING VOCABULARY. So far, under our comprehension heading, we have added the strategies, “Check For Understanding” and “Back Up and Re-Read”. Under our accuracy heading, we have added “Using Beginning and Ending Sounds”, and “Do The Pictures Match the Words”. Finally, under our fluency heading, we have learned to “Choose Good-Fit Books”. Please refer to your parent pipelines (emailed with the weekly updates) for in-depth descriptions of each of these strategies!
Math: Patterns Unit
Our first math unit has been all about patterns! In First Grade, our “Big Idea” is Patterns and Cycles, so what better to way to integrate math than by looking for patterns in our mathematics skills. We’ve learned to skip count by 5’s and 10’s as well as have noticed the patterns that counting makes when filling in numbers on a hundreds chart. We’ve also studied patterns with shapes and identified many different ways to make patterns such as “ABAB” and “ABCABC”. The students have also learned to draw and interpret tally marks. They enjoyed making the connection between skip counting by 5’s and counting groups of tallies! Studying numbers and their locations on a hundreds chart is a great way to observe a variety different patterns and the kids continued to observe these patterns when we learned about ordering numbers and figuring out numbers that come before and after! Another skill we continue to practice is writing number words and matching them to the corresponding numeral. We will continue to spiral this concept throughout the school year!
Writing: Personal Narratives
Our first writing unit has been about writing personal narratives! A personal narrative is a piece of writing based on a real experience. The students have practiced choosing a topic or a "small moment" by reflecting on things that have happened to them. Once they choose a topic, the students have worked on "zooming in" on their idea to decide if there is a an even smaller moment within their topic! The more we focus on one small topic/idea, the more focused and detailed our writing becomes! As the year progresses, your child will publish their best writing pieces! Please ask them what topics they have chosen for their personal narratives (there may be more than one!)
Please check out the slideshow below to meet our First Grade friends and to catch up on some of our favorite moments so far!